An enhanced collaboration between primary-care physicians and specialized memory clinics is needed to improve the dementia diagnosis and advance it to earlier clinical stages. A relevant number of persons throughout the world live with dementia without being diagnosed or are diagnosed in advanced clinical stages. This precludes them of having access to treatment or advanced care planning.
One of the main reasons for under-diagnosis is the suboptimal primary care-specialized services collaboration and dementia-specific training in primary-care. The objectives of this proposal are to thoroughly map the structural and educational needs and clinical practice towards early-identification of cognitive impairment of the primary-care physicians in an urban area in Barcelona, Spain through a self-administered survey and qualitative interviews.
In a second phase, the mapping exercise will be used to adjust existing care pathways targeting diminishing the diagnostic gap and for implementing screening tools more sensitive to incipient cognitive decline. Also, up-skilling primary-care physicians in dementia diagnosis will be sought by combining a training program with actively promoting liaisons between primary-care providers and an academic memory clinic.
This will ultimately lead to increased assessment and referral of patients at an earlier symptomatic stage, facilitate the implementation of future population based screenings for incipient cognitive decline and improve long-term disease management.